The History of Grand Lake Marina



The history of Grand Lake Marina dates back to 1955. As such it is the longest running and the only privately owned and operated marina on Grand Lake in Colorado. From 1955 to 1972 the business was run under the name Grand Lake Boat Service by the family of Lyle Killyon. The current owners and the name Grand Lake Marina
come onto the scene in 1971.

It was December of 1971 and two business partners from the island of Oahu in Hawaii came to Grand Lake with the intentions to buy a lodge. An extreme change you say - well perhaps - but sometimes life demands extreme change. At the time Mr. Ted James II and his family were selling the Grand Lake Lodge. These two business partners from Hawaii, currently "Bakers" for Loves Bakery on the island of Oahu, were interested in owning a mountain resort. Living in the Western Rivera Hotel in the dead of winter, they spent time negotiating with Ted for the possible purchase of the lodge. In the end, easements and access right agreements with Rocky Mountain National Park made the deal unappealing, so they asked their realtor if there was any other business for sale? As it turns out the Grand Lake Boat Service, owned by Lyle Killyon was for sale. Viewing the marina property in the dead of winter may not have been the best idea but they were so tired of the fast life back on Oahu. After giving it a lot of thought, okay a day or two, they both felt it looked like a piece of cake, in a manner of speaking. So they said "Aloha" to Grand Lake and their new friends, which neither means hello or good by.

Back home on the island of Oahu, it was now time to sell their idea to the family. The simple life, the easy life, the cake walk - all they had to do was rent a few boats and do a little boat repair and the money would pour in. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

In February of 1972 The Grand Lake Marina was officially founded by Mr. Clifford Mac Cox, known as "Mac" and his wife Marilynn Cox, known as "Lynn". Mr. and Mrs. Cox had two young children, Cathy and Kevin. Their partners in this adventure were Mr. Donald and Arvella Robbins. They sold their homes in Hawaii, packed all or their belongings in to 10, 8x8 shipping containers, and moved to Grand Lake on April 1, 1972. Needless to say, "what a shock", moving from the island of Oahu to Grand Lake during the heavyset snow months, and with a population of less than 275 residence.

The summer of 1972 did not work well for the Robbins's, nor as they expected. As Arvella Robbins saw the coming winter approaching, she refused to spend a second winter snowbound like the Donner party. Thus, the partnership between the Cox and Robbins families dissolved almost as soon as it began.

Mac and Lynn continued to operate the marina, trying to develop a year round operation. Everything they made in the summer went back in to living expenses during the winter months. They tried their hand with Antique Boat Restoration, but seen as a hobby for most owners, this business did not generate reliable revenue for the family. Then they tried their hand at Snowmobile sales and service. Mac became President of the Grand Lake Chamber and the Trail Blazers Snowmobile Association. With the support of his wife, Lynn, the Trail Blazers promoted Grand Lake as Colorado's number one snowmobile capital. Sponsoring the first Snow Pro races to be held on Grand Lake, racers from around the country came to Grand Lake to race at the highest mile track in the US.

Grand Lake Marina Inc. became the first Mercury and Chaparral snowmobile dealer in Grand County backing the mid 1970's. This ride did not last long. Within four years of opening, Mercury and Chaparral went out of business, and the town's commitment to snowmobiling began to fade. With significant investment already made, Grand Lake Marina moved to Artic Cat snowmobile sales and service. Unlike the bustle of snowmobiling in Grand Lake today, the 70's were hard times and soon Grand Lake Marina stopped all winter operations and focused completely on being the best provider of boats on Grand Lake.

Today the Grand Lake Marina is run by Kevin Cox and his mother Lynn. As with all seasonal business operators in Grand Lake, the Cox family must supplement their income with additional business. Please support them by visiting their quality vacation rental and real estate business operations here in Grand Lake.